In this week’s City Perspectives, Herald Herrera (@heraldherrera) gives us a taste of his home city of Dubai.
How long have you lived in your city and what is your profession?
I’m a Network Engineer for a Danish company that has a branch in the Dubai Airport Freezone. I’ve been working there and living in Dubai since November, 2008.
If you could capture the essence of your city in one word, what would it be? Why?
Intertwined. With people from more than 200 nationalities living in harmony (or at least trying to), this is a city that feels like a world within our world. Despite this, it is said that there’s only one degree of separation between people in Dubai; everyone, despite their differences, is connected somehow.
How would you describe the locals in your city? What are some stereotypes and are they true?
I would describe them polite and kind-hearted, though perhaps intimidating at first. Both locals and visitors will often say that they feel nervous to approach a large group of Emiratis, but once they begin talking to them and getting to know them, they find they are very open and lovely people.
Where’s the best spot to see your city from above?
Definitely from Burj Khalifa’s 148th floor. It’s the highest outdoor observatory deck in the world at 555 meters up!
Describe the first place you’d bring an out-of-town guest. Why would you take them there before anywhere else?
I would take them downtown via the Dubai Metro, walk toward the base of Burj Khalifa, watch the Dubai Fountain at sunset, and then have dinner in Souk Al Bahar. Downtown Dubai is the pride of the city – it hosts the tallest building on the planet, as well as many other memorable landmarks and edifices. I’d offer my guest a chance to indulge in what Dubai is most famous for first, then bring them to other special places throughout the city that not everyone gets the opportunity to see.
What’s the best season to visit your city in? Why?
With temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) during the peak summer months, it’s best to visit Dubai during its winter season between November and February.
If your city had a dress code what would it be?
It would surely be the traditional white kandura for men and black abaya for women.
What is one walk or walking route that you would recommend taking? What time of the day do you like to take this walk?
I’d recommend going on an early morning culture walk by the Dubai Creek in the “Old Dubai” area of the city. You’ll see the historic neighborhood with old mosques, souks (open-air marketplace) and dhows (wooden trading vessels). It feels like taking a step back in time, to the Dubai that existed before all the infamous development.
How do you think that the beat or style of the city has informed your style as a photographer?
Dubai is such a fast-paced, futuristic city and my style of photography has evolved into one that reveals how vivid and alive this city is. I’m very much into discovering and exposing Dubai’s “hidden gems” – unknown places you won’t usually see on television or in magazines, but are just as beautiful and as vital as some of the more well-known or highly photographed spots.